A happy volunteer

Verbena bonariensis?

Verbena bonariensis?

This morning I spotted a nice surprise in the Shed Garden.  I’m pretty sure this little volunteer is one of my favorites Verbena bonariensis.  It’s also known as Brazillian Verbena, Stick Verbena, Upright Verbena and Purpletop Vervain.  Ever since the original plant popped up due to the wind or some generous bird I’ve wanted more of this perennial.  The ones I’ve purposely planted have never done as well as the happy accidents though.  This pretty wildlife attractor is native to tropical South America.   Here’s some more interesting facts:

  • Perennial in zones 7-11 (grow as an annual elsewhere)
  • Self seeds readily (invasive in some climates)
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade w/regular moisture
  • Attracts Goldfinches, Butterflies, Bees & Hummingbirds
  • Used in some Countries as a Veterinary Abortifacient
  • Grows up to 4′ tall and 3′ wide
  • Purple blooms from mid summer to mid fall
  • Flowers are good for drying/preserving
  • Drought tolerant or xeriscaping
  • Propogate from seeds and cuttings
  • Pinch first shoots in spring to encourage branching
  • Susceptible to powdery mildew in humid areas
  • Looks best planted in masses
  • No serious insect problems

25 responses to this post.

  1. How lovely Racquel, a gift from ‘heaven’. Thank you for all the good info about the Verbena bonariensis.

    You are quite welcome Tyra. This is one of my favorite summer perennials. Of course it will bloom through fall if the temps are mild. 🙂


  2. One of my favorites – I am always so happy when I see new seedlings of Verbena appear in the garden.

    Mine too Karen and I love the photo you captured of it during your nursery tour. 🙂


  3. You’ll have to post the bloom…..

    I would of posted a photo of the bloom for the mother plant but she’s gone to seed. Next year I promise to update you all on the progress of this volunteer. 😉


  4. I keep wanting this plant. I have planted it in the past, but no volunteers. Perhaps I much too heavily.

    It is a definitely a plant worthy of any garden Deborah. Mulch is my problem too I think. Fortunately this time of the year the mulch hasn’t been replenished yet. 😉


  5. Love these litte garden surprises Racquel! I don’t think I know this plant, but sounds like something I would like to have. I’ll be on the look-out for one. Thanks for the info!
    Have a great day! It’s been raining here again!

    You should be able to find seed or plants of it online Linda. You are quite welcome, glad I could help! 🙂


  6. Hi Racquel, it is VB! Hooray! I have the same results, the self sown, always in the gravel paths, do much better than those I have moved to the beds. One of these days I am going to gravel all the beds! 🙂

    Hooray, I knew I was right! Thanks for the confirmation Frances. 🙂 You maybe onto something with that gravel mulch idea, lol.


  7. I love Verbena too. I remember seeing it in one of my trips in the early months of this year. In one of the hotels, it lined their sidewalk. Lucky you!

    Thanks Chandramouli, I bet that hotel sidewalk bed looked glorious! 🙂


  8. Racquel girl !!
    I was all excited about having this plant too until I saw the zone 7 .. I do the annual verbena thing with pots in the summer and they are so pretty .. I was day dreaming of a perennial one and ‘poof!!” there goes that : )
    I’m happy for you that you have a gift from the garden though girl !
    Volunteers can be just the thing to brighten your day .. I know I love seeing mine : )

    Hi Joy! You could still grow it as an annual in your garden Joy. It grows pretty quickly in one season. Sorry that I dashed your dream with the zone thing. 😉


  9. I hope I get some of those volunteers. Mine didn’t do too good this year.

    Just collect the seed Susie or let Mother Nature do the work for you. 🙂


  10. Morning Racquel, let me know if you want more…..thinning thinning thinning!

    Hi Janet, yes please! 🙂 I just sent you an email!


  11. Yep, that looks like VB. She’s one of my “go to” plants. I just transplant or pull up the volunteers that show up unexpected. A true Goldfinch feeder!


    And yours are gorgeous this year Cameron. I just saw the fantastic photo of one of your clumps! I’ve noticed that Goldfinches adore it as well as the butterflies & hummers. 🙂


  12. I love this verbena, though I obviously can’t ID it as a seedling since I must have pulled all mine out this spring. But that just reminds me I need to get some seeds froma friend!!!

    That is a shame Monica, I do the same thing all the time. I’m not too overrun with volunteers in my garden because I tend to mulch too heavily in the spring. But there are pros and cons to that I guess. 🙂


  13. A great, fun plant for the garden, it can be in front as scrim or in back, or in the middle. It’s hard to photograph in bloom, but you’ll figure it out.

    So true Nell and it I love watching the Goldfinches balance on the flowerheads, so funny! 🙂


  14. It must be a little finicky about where it wants to grow. Good thing the birds or the wind know just where to plant it;)

    It seems to love the most unideal locations that’s for sure Marnie. 😉 Mother Nature has a better grasp on the perfect spot than I do most of the time. lol


  15. You will have to keep us posted all the way to bloom.

    I promise to keep you all updated on it’s progress over the next year Jeff. 🙂


  16. It is so true – some plants do much better on their own. They choose the best place to grow. Your little volunteer is cute!

    That has been my experience so far in the past 20 years of gardening. 🙂 Thanks Tatyana.


  17. Ooh, I am so envious, Racquel! I’ve wanted these verbena ever since last summer. I was given some seeds, but I think I mistook the seedlings for weeds this spring and hoed them all out. Then Beckie (Dragonfly Corner) gave me some of her seed starts–only they turned out to be bee balm instead:) I’m hoping to have more success with seeds next year–and I won’t get so carried away with weeding for awhile.

    I’ve done that same thing by mistake too Rose. Hopefully the seedlings take well next season. They are a nice addition to the garden especially for all the wonderful visiting critters. 🙂


  18. I want this plant to seed itself all over the place! It hasn’t yet! But maybe once we get a summer with warm weather and sun it will make itself at home! gail

    Me too Gail, me too. The things I wish wouldn’t seed themselves everywhere do, isn’t that ironic? 🙂


  19. I wish it would self seed in my garden as it’s one of my favourites too. For some reason it refuses to establish despite my best efforts. Some plants are just contrary!

    Don’t we all EG, don’t we all. It seems like the thugs take over and the favorites just stay put. 😉


  20. I love the verbena also but your toadlily is to die for!

    Why thank you Dawn. 🙂


  21. Racquel, I hope this grows and seeds all over your garden for you. I have enjoyed my plants this year-the first time in my garden. I grew them from seeds indoors and luckily had some survive inspite of my getting them mixed up with bee balm seedlings. Next year I hope to do better at labeling my starts. I did save several seed for the seed exchange or if you would like me to send you some, I would be happy to.

    Me too Beckie, me too!!! Thanks for the offer of the seeds. I will let you know if I need any. Luckily my blogging buddy Janet (who lives close by) has offered me her thinnings this fall. 😉


  22. You’ve added to my purple list. Planning purple and yellow combo this spring.

    Glad I could add another great purple bloom to your list. 🙂


  23. Oh no. You just taught me something. I started verbena bonariensis from seed this summer
    but I (once again) didn’t pay attention to the hardiness zones. I thought it would be a perennial for me. I’m so bummed now. I guess I will be starting it again (earlier) next year so it will bloom for me. No wonder I haven’t been able to find it at our local nurseries. It should have tipped me off! Glad you are finding some seedlings around.

    I’m sorry Kathleen, but that doesn’t it mean it won’t reseed in your garden. It’s worth the trouble of starting it from seed just to see the Goldfinches bouncing around on the flowerheads. 🙂


  24. Oh, Verbena is one of my favorite plants. I just got one last year, and have made multiple cutting of it to move all around my yard…excited to see how this little guy makes out!

    Mine too Zach, so beloved by wildlife and a long bloom time to boot! Hope your cuttings take off & do well. Thanks! 🙂


  25. Posted by Lindy on October 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I have verbenas planted all over my garden. The butterflies loveit!!! … Sadly, no volunteers, yet 😦
    Can’t wait to see this one in full bloom!!

    Lucky you! They really are magnets for butterflies as well as other visitors. Hope yours reseed happily for you. 🙂


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